I'm an engineering manager at Trello, leading a web growth team serving millions of customers worldwide.

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An engineering manager and creative technologist.

Over a decade of experience working for some great companies: Square, Gucci, Pocket, and more.



I was a front end platform engineering manager for the popular payments service.

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General Assembly

General Assembly

I taught front end web development and a self-designed responsive web design workshop to future developers, entrepreneurs, and designers.

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I was the front end lead for all design and development on, a global e-commerce fashion site.

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Latest Blog Posts

Hellblade II confounds expectations

Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II (HB2) is one of the most fascinating games of the year. At its core, it’s a linear “walking simulator” like Everyone’s Gone to the Rapture, made with AAA levels of polish. Creative dissonance between initial expectations and the final product has fueled a polarized reaction to the game across reviews and social media.

A debate over HB2 felt inevitable with how fundamental gameplay is to most games and how strongly HB2 deemphasizes traditional gameplay mechanics. Pick any title at the top of sales charts; gameplay elements are almost always pivotal to their success. Elden Ring has best-in-class action RPG controls. Fortnite allows high degrees of player customization while providing many game variations, from battle royale shooters to Lego building and car racing. The Last of Us is best known for its post-apocalyptic storyline but is also lauded for its stealth action combat.

However, HB2 takes a deliberate approach by limiting gameplay options to focus on characters, setting, and mood. The majority of HB2’s runtime is spent guiding the protagonist Senua through an environment, allowing players to absorb the scenery and engage with the dialogue. There are no fail conditions or choices, just a linear journey from point A to B lasting about six to eight hours. While combat battles and puzzles exist, the action is straightforward (some argue outdated), repetitive, and easily skippable.

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The Fall Guy and theaters’ dim future

The Fall Guy is a throwback, the rare high budget summer movie based on a quasi-original story, leaning on two likable stars to carry a PG-13 mixture of action, comedy, and romance. Helmed by a director who’s proven himself at the box office, it’s about as appealing a draw as you’re going to get that’s not based on four-quadrant-friendly IP.

But The Fall Guy is a flop. The movie made $28 million opening weekend and $110 million worldwide gross after its first two weeks, the slowest start to the summer movie season in fifteen years. With a reported $130 million budget, it’s a likely loss on Universal’s balance sheets.

Cue extensive online discourse regarding The Fall Guy’s stumbles: Ryan Gosling can’t open a movie. Universal should have released the movie in the spring with less competition. The budget was excessive. But the path to success for The Fall Guy, like most movies, was already narrow; for the last decade, the theatrical experience has gotten worse while home viewing has gotten better, and the studios have trained an audience that mega event franchise IP are the only movies worth leaving home for.

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Game Pass needs Call of Duty more than ever

According to The Verge, Microsoft is debating on whether to add the new Call of Duty on Game Pass. It’s a no-brainer: COD would easily be Game Pass’s most high-profile title, giving a potential injection to growth to its otherwise plateaued subscriber base.

Opting out COD from Game Pass will effectively end the service as Xbox’s final differentiator against PlayStation, Nintendo, and Steam. A case by case treatment of “our games will come to Game Pass day one” will annoy existing subscribers. Nor is there any clear criteria – budget, branding, genre – to distinguish what enters Game Pass day one in a way that’s satisfactory to both Microsoft corporate or the Xbox player base. Even with clear messaging, in losing some day and date first party titles, a weakened Game Pass no longer properly distinguishes itself from PS5’s competing PlayStation Plus service.

Admittedly, corporate accounting will provide insight that I can’t speculate on. Maybe Microsoft ran the numbers, and a game of COD’s stature on Game Pass is simply too big of a sales revenue hit to ever swallow. Perhaps Game Pass’s long-term fiscal sustainability is long past the expiration point, and this is just the first in a line of walkbacks to slow the burn rate down.

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The shutdown of Tango Gameworks erodes trust in Xbox

It’s sadly easy to become numb to the news of more layoffs in the gaming industry, given its frequency over recent months. But Microsoft’s shutdown of four Bethesda studios stands out for its blatant reversal of Xbox’s purported post acquisition, Game Pass-centric future. The about face erodes trust in the Xbox brand and questions whether there’s any coherent first party strategy.

The shuttering of Tango Gameworks was particularly galling. The studio’s latest release, Hi-Fi Rush, exemplified the independence, creativity, and high quality that Xbox leadership claimed their first studios should aim for. Hi-Fi was a critical darling, landing on many critics’ top 10 lists, won a BAFTA, and was Xbox’s highest first party game of 2023 on OpenCritic. It also was a creative risk for Tango Gameworks, a bright, colorful throwback to the Dreamcast era for a studio that built its reputation on survival horror games.

Hi-Fi’s excellence also leveled up the value of Game Pass, Xbox’s greatest differentiator against the competition. It’s a draw for the service on its merit and the kind of high quality gem that can serve as an effective gap between some major AAA releases on Game Pass to minimize customer churn.

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Active breaks help the daily grind

The time we spend away from work can be as critical to our job’s success as when we clock in. That’s why active breaks – brief, focused, fun, and ready to go – are essential to my everyday routine. They keep me more productive and, on challenging work days, provide just enough fulfillment to keep the day palatable.

My active breaks all follow a pattern. They have natural stopping points that fall under thirty minutes. They demand lean forward, focused attention. No multi-tasking. No throwing something else on in the background. They are fulfilling and enjoyable to me, and only me. Active breaks aren’t for other people or my career growth. They are readily available, the kind of effort I can pick up almost any time; plans can change, and I never know when the mind needs a rest.

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The decline of directorial auteur runs

I recently watched Frances Ford Coppola’s Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now on the big screen. Like many other directors of his era, he charted his path through auteur runs: multiple movies in a row with wide distribution and a personal artistic vision. No extended detours into TV. No five plus year gaps between films. No anonymous paycheck gigs. Coppola’s output from 1972 to 1979 – The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now – was arguably the greatest auteur run ever. Such directorial stretches used to be commonplace but are rare today, especially for younger directors. It’s a trend that, left unchecked, can threaten film’s cultural relevance.

But before getting too pessimistic about the situation, I did some research. I looked at Sight and Sound’s 2022 critics poll alongside the most popular movies on Letterboxd for a more populist take. From these sources, I hand picked at least forty directors who each had at least one reasonable auteur run: three or no movies in wide release (e.g., available across your average American cineplex or widely popular for rental or streaming) with no gaps greater than five years and no obvious mercenary gigs.

Every decade, many influential directors have had auteur runs at their critical and financial peak. In the 50s and 60s, there was Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Kubrick, Wilder, Fellini, and Goddard. The 70s brought New Hollywood in with Coppola, Scorsese, Altman, Friedkin, and Lucas. The 80s were defined by filmmakers as varied as Spielberg, De Palma, Stone, Carpenter, Cameron, Zemeckis, and Lynch. For the 90s we had Tarantino, Soderbergh, Lee, Linklater, Fincher, the Coen brothers, and Paul Thomas Anderson. I’d argue the 2000s saw a meaningful dip, but we still saw talent like Bigelow, Anderson, Wan, McDonaugh, and Iñárritu break out.

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Live service games are taking the wrong lessons from Fornite

Fortnite is a gaming success story that is paradoxically underreported, underrated, and misunderstood by the many new games as a service (GaaS) that try to emulate its feature set. Mainstream hype about Fortnite (e.g., billion dollar Disney investments, musical collaborations with Lady Gaga) obscures a primary reason the game continues to crush virtually every would be competitor in its path: it nails its fundamentals beautifully.

Every time I boot up Fortnite, I have enormous flexibility to play how I want. Within its multiplayer shooter core, there’s an immense variety of skins and other customization options. The artistry isn’t always for me, but the cosmetics set a consistently high quality bar. When I start a multiplayer match, I can chase the XP goals I’m in the mood for, whether combat-focused, exploration, or a mini battle pass narrative story. Skill based match making strikes a good balance; I can challenge myself by purposefully landing in frenzied hot zones or begin a match far away from the action to take things at a slower pace.

Fortnite also respects my money and time. Its battle pass doles out decent, reasonably varied rewards at a faster clip than most of the competition. Even half finished, I end up earning enough V-bucks to allow me to buy a future battle pass at a reduced rate. The time to kill is reasonably high compared to other popular shooters like Call of Duty or Apex Legends, which gives me a competitive opportunity to react and fight back against better players. Matches rarely last longer than twenty minutes.

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Dreams of 4K HDR are fading into 1080p realities

A year ago, I criticized Netflix for gatekeeping their highest quality video and audio content behind a premium tier. Max, Prime Video, and Disney Plus have since added similar pricing structures. If you want 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos movies from the biggest four streaming sites, you’ll have to pay more, anywhere from $3 to $7 a month. On a practical level, it ensures the majority of the home movie-watching audience will do so capped at the same 1080p and Dolby Digital 5.1 streams we’ve had for over a decade.

As someone who wants the home movie experience to be great, this is depressing news, especially when the pipeline of high quality audio and video has never been better. Modern capture tech ensures that most film productions, regardless of budget, record in a 4K HDR-friendly format. As home internet bandwidth improves, more households can stream higher quality content without stuttering. Also, practically every TV sold today, including entry level models, supports 4K HDR, while Atmos-ready soundbars and sound systems are more affordable than ever.

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Naughty Dog and the pitfalls of flat hierarchies

Watching Grounded II, a documentary on the making of The Last of Us: Part II, revealed unexpected parallels with my career. Making video games differs from shipping web apps, but the doc highlighted common challenges in navigating developers through hard deadlines, decision making, and resource management. I walked away from the experience with a newfound appreciation for how engineering managers can help ship great products.

Naughty Dog, the studio behind TLOU2, didn’t share my optimistic view on EMs. For most of its history, the studio went against industry trends by rarely hiring producers (dedicated roles to manage the project’s timeline and resource needs) or people managers. Department leads served as both individual contributors and quasi-managers. Naughty Dog leadership argued the producers and managers were a “crutch”, bureaucratic red tape that slowed down productivity and stifled creativity. Boasts around flat studio hierarchy appear as an aside in the documentary’s opening act.

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The unfulfilled ambition of the Xbox ecosystem

During last week’s business update, Microsoft leadership reaffirmed two differentiators for the Xbox ecosystem: Game Pass (every first party game coming day one) and platform accessibility (cross-play, cross-save, cloud streaming). Yet I don’t see either feature today as a compelling reason for net new gamers beyond the PC and console core – Xbox’s stated long term growth target – to jump in with Xbox. They are features with huge potential but are stuck today in alpha mode.

Game Pass unquestionably has a lot of great games, but most of the library encompasses small, under the radar indie titles or older catalog hits. Microsoft puts all its first party titles on the service, but none have the marquee prestige and popularity of franchises popularized on rival systems from Sony and Nintendo. Furthermore, I find the onboarding process on Game Pass intimidating for newcomers. There’s a bewildering number of choices, and the Game Pass app’s recommendation system is limited and simplistic; there’s no sense of individual game length or difficulty to guide new players.

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